1. What Do I Want To Do When I Grow Up?
This may seem very elementary, but I ask everyone this question who calls me during their transition. You want to love what you do, and you want to be paid your worth.
First, discover your core-competencies and skillsets. Staying focused on what you are good at will you streamline your job search. Applying for any and every job is like gambling and can waste a lot of your time. Be on top of your game and focus your efforts on a job-specific area so you can better prepare for interviews. Be able to express your potential rather than looking like you want any job and you do not care what it is. Companies want to know you have potential to improve their company and add growth. They are not looking to hire you just because you are a veteran.
If you need help figuring out what you are good at, give me a call, I am happy to help you discover that!
2. If You Are Choosing To Leave The Military Early: Is This A Good Time For Me To Separate/Retire?
There is nothing wrong with leaving the military early or retiring right when you hit the 20-year mark. However, is it the right time for you to do so? Knee-jerk reactions can happen at re-enlistment time. Be sure to ask yourself if you are prepared to leave and ready to take on the challenges you will face when separating early.
Do you have a saving account?
Do you have the education and experience needed to obtain your goals when you get out?
Do you have health insurance (for those not retiring?)
Are you prepared to have a different way of life?
There are numerous questions to ask yourself when leaving early, but the central question to ask yourself is, “Are you ready to take on the transition process?” If you can answer this with a yes, then go for it. I will be your biggest cheerleader and answer any questions you may have along the way.
3. How Long Is A Typical Job Search?
The average job seeker searches for a new job for 9-months. That is a long time, but most transitioning veterans have an advantage over others. They know when they are separating, and they are still getting a monthly paycheck. So when do you start your transition? As soon as possible.
Start saving 5-years before separation and getting an education in order then 2-years from separation begin actively planning your job search and develop your resume to streamline your networking.
4. Do I Have A Professionally Translated Resume?
Your resume is the gatekeeper that gets you in front of hiring managers. Once you have discovered what you want to do, it is time to obtain a professional resume that correctly translates your military training into civilian terminology. A resume is not an eval, so you should not treat it like one. You want to show hiring managers your potential and experience in a way they can relate and understand. This does not mean you dilute who you are or what you did; it means you translate it in a way that is positive and relatable.
5. Am I Willing To Network?
Networking can be useful if done right. Once you know the industry and job-specific area you wish to enter, networking can be easy, but you have to be willing to do the groundwork. Make yourself known to everyone you. Know what you are interested in doing. Connect with people on LinkedIn in that specific industry. You can even reach out to people already working for a company you may wish to apply. Be sure to stay positive when reaching out to people. You want to be sure you are showing yourself as a potential asset, not a liability.
6. What Is My End Goal?
“I do not care what I do so long as I have a job.” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this statement by transitioning veterans. This may seem okay, but this thought process will never land the job you truly want.
Discovering what you want to do and begin spearheading a campaign that will help you reach your end goal and help you to stay focused and motivated during the job search process. You do care what you do, and you will end up unhappy or quit if you are not doing what you know you can do.
Set up long- and short-term goals that help you advance through your job search process until you reach the end goal, the job you want and deserve.
7. Am I Applying Myself 110%?
If you are not dedicating time each week to your job search, you will likely fall behind and become discouraged when you do not hear form jobs you have applied for.
Carve out time each week and maintain a strict schedule that keeps you moving forward during your job search. Create a list of items to touch on each week and spend appropriate amounts of time on each.
Try to avoid overthinking things that may monopolize your time; instead positively advance your job search.
8. Have I Evaluated My Progress?
Throughout your job search, you will want to take a step back and evaluate your progress to see what is working for you and what is not. This is an excellent time to reach out and ask questions to those you have set in place the help you in the advancement of your transition. However, at the end of the day, only you are responsible for your transition and will need to reach out to others to hold you accountable.
9. Am I Keeping a Positive Attitude?
There is nothing worse than getting on LinkedIn and seeing a negative post by a transitioning veteran. I am well aware of the challenges you will face and how it can cause significant hardships. I also know that no company gets excited to hire Negative Nancy,
Creating and maintaining a job search plan will help you minimize discouragement and the desire to express negativity during your transition process. Whether you notice it or not, a negative attitude will come out in what you say if not combatted appropriately.
10. Am I Preparing For Interviews?
You are hired on your potential. If you do not prepare for interviews, you are unable to express what that potential may be.
Do your homework on the industry you desire to be. Learn about the companies you wish to work for or have applied for. Being confident to discuss these things during the interview process will show the hiring managers you have potential to be an asset to their company.
Practice interview questions in the mirror and with others. The more you practice, the better you will become. Try to keep answers under 30-seconds. Never be afraid to ask questions and if you do not know something that is okay. If you “fake it until you make it” they will know.